I just wanted to make something pretty. (And tasty, of course). Since this is my first time making a tarte soleil, I was sure if would turn out looking more like it came from Jackson Pollock than Julia Child. So much so that I’ve been putting it off. But no need. It’s actually really easy and I have no doubt that my next one will be even prettier.
2 10”x15” puff pastry sheets, defrosted in the refrigerator
1 pound pitted dates
3 ounces blue cheese – don’t buy the crumbles
5 slices bacon
All-purpose flour (for rolling)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Chop the dates (I used Deglet Noor) into small pieces – the smaller the better. Put them into a bowl and cover them with Bourbon. Let them sit for at least an hour, but the longer the better.
Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels. Chop small.
Crumble the blue cheese. I used Jasper Hill Farms’ Bayley Hazen – it’s flavorful and moist. Many times, the blue cheese “crumbles” are coated in a flour to keep them crumbled.
Preheat oven to 400.
Drain the dates but keep the bourbon - it’s very good over ice! Mix the bacon and blue cheese in with the dates.
On a table or a large cutting board, sprinkle some all-purpose flour and place one of the sheets of pastry.
Using a rolling pin and from all 4 angles, roll the dough out so its size is at least 1-2 inches around larger than what it was, but the width of it should be at around 11”.
Find a round object that’s 10–11” in diameter (the larger, the better) and shape 2 rounds of dough. If you have a round pizza stone, as I do, you don’t need the cookie sheets or the round lid. Just do parchment paper on the stone, then dough, and cut both around the stone, which worked great.
Set aside the excess pastry scraps. Chill the dough if it starts getting sticky while you repeat with the second sheet of pastry.
Crack 1 large egg into a small bowl and beat to combine with a fork. Brush egg wash all along circumference of one pastry round (this will seal the two pieces of pastry together); reserve remaining egg wash for later. Spread date mixture over, leaving a ½” border. Place second round of pastry on top and press gently to seal. Using a small cup or shot glass (2” in diameter), make an indent in the very center. Chill if the dough is getting too sticky.
With a sharp knife, cut pastry into 4 quadrants, stopping when you reach the 2 inch center circle. Cut each quadrant in half, then in half again, so that you have around 16 spokes.
Working with one spoke at a time, pull gently away from the center (to extend the length of each piece), then twist to expose the date and cheese insides. Aim for 2-3 twists. Nudge them around to distribute evenly.
Brush tarte all over with reserved egg wash; sprinkle with the sugar. Bake tarte until risen and well browned all over, 30–35 minutes.
If you’re not sure what to do with the leftover scraps, cut them into small squares, salt and season them with your favorite spice blend and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes - great croutons for salad or soup.
You can do this with sweet mixtures for a dessert or breakfast bit, but this is great for an app or with a cheese course.